I am still on a bit of a sage binge, but now I have turned it's attention to dessert. Not just any dessert. One of my all-time favorite comfort deserts, one that I make over and over this time of year.
I've also been kind of obsessed with the idea of making a dessert in a jar. I've seen apple pie in a jar, and I always thought that it had a bit of a fun and wow factor rather than just serving as it normally would be.
Years ago, when we first started dating, Michael took me on a date to this fancy place that cooked and served everything in mason jars. I loved it, he totally impressed me with that one. I am a sucker for food things that are interesting and different (even if a bit gimmicky).
When they came over to serve our food, the waited carrier over an uber-hot jar with some sort of tong holder thing (just like those ones you would use for canning) and then they spooned it from the jar onto the plate. They cooked the food low and slow in those jars, and the results were quite delicious. That place has since closed, and I have yet to find anywhere that does something similar. Such a unique idea. Things in jars are always more fun.
I’ve been brainstorming about my dessert in a jar for weeks now, and I've been craving a good apple crisp. Apple crisp is so much easier to thorw than a pie, but it is just as satisfying … sometimes more. Alternate layers of crisp and apple is how a crisp should be. Equal part crispy goodness, equal part sweet apple yum.
Serving them in a jar is fun because adds a bit of interaction if you have guests. It also has a practical element because you can make them ahead, put a lid on them, and save them until you are ready to bake/eat. If you're having a party, I would pre-bake it, that way you can pop them in the oven shortly before you're ready to serve to warm up. Just be sure that if you are serving them to your guests in the jar that they are cool enough to touch, or else you'll need to provide some sort of oven mitt or heat proof towel for them to spoon it out. Better yet, it's probably better if you bring it over to their plate spoon it out for them. I'm sure they'd be impressed.
Before you ask, I am going to answer the question that might be burning in your brain, which is …. No, these jars are not going to explode all over your oven. I promise. I’ll admit, I was a tinge nervous putting them into the oven that I was going to have a mess of glass and crisp all over the place, but I've done it a few times, and everything was fine. You MUST use canning jars for this, because canning jars were made to take the heat. They are made to withstand boiling water which means they can easily withstand the heat of a 350º oven.
This recipe is for a basic, vegan, gluten-free crisp which you have probably seen around before. The sage mingles so well with apples, if you love sage feel free to add as much as you like. You can also experiment with different crisp combination in these jars. I think pears with be great, or if you want to get crazy and more savory, go for some butternut squash.
The only thing I will not negotiate with you is the ice cream. It is a must. I always use a dairy-free coconut based vanilla, but any type or flavor that you like will do just fine. A crisp is not a crisp without the cold melty ice cream to go with it.
apple + sage + oat crumble ... in a jar!
6 8oz mason jars
for the apples:
6 small apples (or 3 cups), mixed (green + red), cored and diced
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of brown rice flour or oat flour
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of chopped sage
for the crumble:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup of steel cut oats (optional, or you could just use all rolled oats)
1/2 cup of hazelnut flour (or oat or brown rice flour)
¼ cup of coconut palm sugar
a pinch of salt
5 tablespoons of cold vegan or real butter
Several scoops of your favorite (vanilla) ice cream
Pre-heat the oven to 350º (if you're baking right after preparing)
Then, prepare the apples and crumble:
- In a medium bowl, toss together the ingredients for the apples and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add the oats, flour, sugar, and salt and stir until combined. Then, using a fork or a pastry cutter, add in the butter. Do this until the butter is well distributed but still chunky. The chunks are good.
Assemble the jars and bake:
- Layer the apples and the crisp in the jars. I like to start with a spoonful of the crisp mixture, then add a spoonful of apples, then another scoop of crisp and one more scoop of apples and sprinkle of crisp to top it off. Do this until all of the jars are full.
- Place the jars on a baking sheet and bake them for 30-35 minutes.
- Allow them to cool slightly before serving. Also, be careful because the glass jars will stay warm for quite a bit after. To serve, you can carefully (using an oven mitt to handle the jar) scoop the crisp out into individual bowls and finish with a scoop of ice cream. Or, you can also wait until the glass has cooled down enough to touch and serve them right out of the jar.
- You can make them ahead of time and store them in the fridge with a lid screwed on tight for 5-7 days. You can also bake them ahead of time, store them, and then heat up when you're ready to serve.